A Colorful Tiki-Inspired Wedding Weekend in Palm Springs
Courtenay and Larrison
Courtenay and Larrison, a songwriter/producer and TV writer, left Hollywood behind for their Palm Springs destination wedding weekend that kicked off on June 7, 2013, in the place where the couple really cemented their relationship. Guests ventured from near and far to watch these two tie the knot after a two-year courtship filled with coincidences before it even began—they’d lived close to each other in New York before moving west a couple months apart, and had several mutual friends. The Friday ceremony and Saturday celebration, which in another twist of fate also took place on both brides’ parents’ 38th anniversaries, were inspired by the area’s architecture, history, and ambiance.
Invites boasted a custom crest by Happy Menocal, an old schoolmate of Courtenay’s. The illustrated piece incorporated a tropical palette of blues and greens and a hint of grass skirting as a nod to the Tiki-inspired weekend. Elephants (a favorite animal for both brides) topped it off.
A Warm Welcome
Burlap bags stuffed with goodies welcomed guests to town. Inside, treats representing the couple included Mississippi touches for Larrison (cheese straws and Goo Goo clusters), some of the pair’s favorite snacks (Slim Jims and moon pies), and a tiki mug to get into the spirit of the weekend’s events.
The Ceremony Location
Because both sets of the brides’ parents celebrated their wedding anniversary on June 7th, the couple decided early on in the planning process that their ceremony would also occur on that same date. Guests were bussed to the Frederick Loewe Estate for a “Wedding Tiki-Q” that began with cocktails. A ceremony followed, and then a Southern barbecue, during which toasts were given.
The mid-century, retro vibe was also peppered with touches of tiki culture, including the bar menu—which like many of the weekends’ special touches, were designed by Larrison. The signage was intended to conjure up a bit of Trader Vic’s in the mid-60s feeling. Mai Tais and Painkillers were served, as well as lilikoi limeade. Basic drinks like gin and tonic and vodka-sodas were renamed the Bora-Borings, to give them some exotic flair. The cocktails were gussied up with some Hawaiian swizzle sticks, bamboo swords, and fruit garnishes.
The Escort Cards
Seating cards designed with the same font as the wedding invite sat on Hawaiian pin-up girl fabric found at Islands Fabrics, which was turned into a tablecloth.
The Little Ones
Courtenay’s nieces sprinkled orchid petals on the stage where the brides would get married. Clad in Lilly Pulitzer dresses, and with their brother, they added cuteness to the day.
Instead of walking down the aisles, Courtenay and Larrison got up from their seats at the head of the tables together with their parents and walked up to the stage, where their friend Hud officiated with a hybrid wedding sermon meets toast, and another friend read “This Must Be the Place” by David Byrne. Traditional vows were exchanged, and the couple recessed to “Love is Strange” by Mickey and Sylvia. The 140 guests watched from their dinner chairs—which were all angled toward the front.
Instead of carrying bouquets, Courtenay and Larrison wore wristlets of dyed orchids.
Turquoise-and-white fabric runners adorned the long tables, which were also set with paper fans (to help with the California heat), centerpieces of tropical blooms, and signs labeling each of the tables (which were all named after well-known tiki bars). Paper lanterns strung overhead replicated the effect of the large, colorful glass orbs found in many tiki bars.
Larrison wore an Akris cocktail dress, vintage earrings, and a bracelet belonging to her mother. Courtenay sported a Marchesa frock, turquoise-and-gold bracelet that had been her great-grandmother’s, and Ippolita turquoise earrings. Their shoes were both Manolo Blahnik and their wedding bands were Konstantin Kapirin.
Guests also dressed up, thanks to an online lookbook that guided them on what to wear. “People often write very vague descriptions on what to wear, leaving guests puzzled,” Courtenay said. “People really enjoyed the fun dress code, and appreciated the assistance. Being visual people, we loved being able to find and put together ideas, both over-the-top and reasonable.”
The Saturday Soiree
Following the ceremony the evening before, everyone gathered once more for a cocktail hour at the Gene Autry Residence at the Parker Hotel, followed by a casual dinner and dancing on the lawn.
Courtenay wore a vintage Halston dress, Prada shoes, and her grandmother’s pearl, gold, and diamond cuff. Larrison opted for a Halston Heritage pleated number with Lanvin shoes, and earrings given to her by her sisters for the wedding.
The Reception Tables
Tables were dressed with chevron linens, injecting touches of gray and orange into the setting.
Paying tribute to the desert location, terrariums anchored each table. Larrison ordered some animal figurines, which were placed inside as a fun touch.
Dinner Under the Stars
A menu of quinoa salad, shrimp with mango relish and flat-iron steak, grilled vegetables, corn on the cob with cotija cheese, and lobster mac and cheese was enjoyed at the al fresco meal. Bite-sized sweets instead of a wedding cake allowed the evening to run continuously without breaking up the momentum.
Photography: Tory Williams
Locations: Frederick Loewe Estate; The Gene Autry Residence at the Parker Palm Springs
Month-of Event Coordination: Alison Events
Catering for Friday night: Baby Blues BBQ
Flowers: Gilly Flowers & Events
Invitations: (design) Happy Menocal; (printing) Print Icon
Music: High Rize
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals; Oceanic Arts
Hair: Ramsell Martinez
Makeup: Kali Kennedy
Transportation: Cardiff Limousine & Transportation; Vans and Sedans